Saturday, April 28, 2012

• "Y" is for Yellow Snow

You know, as in, "Don't eat the . . . ." Yep, I'm going to talk about number one and number two.

If you're a pet owner, as I am, you know how much attention you pay to your pet's output. How often? How much? Did it look OK? Smell OK?

Pee and poop are two ways we keep tabs on our pets' health. As a pet sitter, I try to be aware when a dog deviates from the norm. The first time a dog has diarrhea I make a mental note. The second time I make written notes. Time, amount, color, consistency—things an owner or vet will want to know.

When do I notify an owner of an irregularity; for example, diarrhea?
• If I'm in daily contact I mention a problem the same day.
• If an owner isn't contacting me regularly, I use my judgment. I don't want to cause worry, but an owner knows its animal best and can judge if its behavior is routine or if something is off. While I'm deciding whether or not to call, I make written notes. Is the animal eating regularly? Did I feed it extra treats or food from my plate? Is it lethargic? Is it drinking the usual amount of water?
• If an owner is unavailable I call the vet at the point I would call the owner.

If clients are going to be gone a week or more, I ask them to tell their vet I'll be caring for their animals. I also ask clients to fill out a veterinary release form before they go away. (Some vets have these on their web site.)

The story wouldn't be complete without me telling you about the time I cared for Arlo (above and right) when he suffered from a urinary tract infection. One morning he yelped when he peed. That wasn't unusual, his owners said that night. The next morning he yelped louder and longer. That afternoon he yowled so long I looked at my watch and counted the seconds. Poor Arlo. I took him to the vet soon afterward.

Arlo and his partner in crime, Darcy, made a heck of a lot of yellow snow during Snowmageddon (February 2010, above). And just so you know, the snow Arlo is licking is white. 

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